quotes about diplomacy

September 10, 2006

Here are some quotes about diplomats and diplomacy. Oddly enough, not all of them are complimentary.
A diplomat is a man who always thinks twice before saying nothing. Marion Howard
In diplomatic life something always happens in the midst of something else. Lord Gore-Booth
Diplomacy is the art of saying “nice doggie” until you can find a rock to throw, William Catlin
Diplomacy is to do and say
The nastiest thing in the nicest way. Isaac Goldberg
In order to be a diplomat one must speak a number of languages, including double-talk. Carey McWilliams
Diplomacy is the art of fishing tranquilly in troubled waters Christopher Herold
Diplomacy: the art of jumping into troubled waters without making a splash. Art Linklater
Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way. Daniele Vare
I have discovered the art of fooling diplomats: I speak the truth and they never believe me. Di Cavour
American diplomacy is easy on the brain but hell on the feet. Charles Dawes
Hypocrisy is the Vaseline of diplomatic intercourse Author Unknown
America never lost a war or won a conference. Will Rogers
Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us. John F. Kennedy
The principle of give and take is the principle of diplomacy – give one and take ten. Mark Twain
A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age. Robert Frost
An ambassador is an honest man who is sent to lie abroad for the good of his country. Sir Henry Wotton
How is the world ruled and how do wars start? Diplomats tell lies to journalists and then believe what they read. Karl Kraus
In archaeology you uncover the unknown. In diplomacy you cover the known. Thomas Pickering
Diplomacy without an army is like music without instruments. Frederick the Great of Prussia
In any country diplomacy and the press are uneasy adversaries. The diplomat believes the less said the better. The press thrives on public utterances. David Newsom
Diplomacy is unfashionable in the world of knee-jerk reaction and the dogmatic sound bite on television. Douglas Hurd
All war represents a failure of diplomacy. Tony Benn
International arbitration may be defined as the substitution of many burning questions for a smoldering one.
Ambrose Bierce
Sincere diplomacy is no more possible than dry water or wooden iron. Joseph Stalin
A diplomat is a person who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you actually look forward to the trip. Caskie Stinnett
To say nothing, especially when speaking, is half the art of diplomacy. Will Durant
Diplomats are useful only in fair weather. As soon as it rains they drown in every drop. Charles de Gaulle
When a diplomat says yes he means perhaps; when he says perhaps he means no; when he says no he is no diplomat. Author Unknown
A diplomat’s life is made up of three ingredients: Protocol, Geritol, and alcohol. Adlai E. Stevenson
A Foreign Secretary is forever poised between the cliché and the indiscretion. Harold MacMillan
Diplomacy: The business of handling a porcupine without disturbing the quills. Author Unknown
Diplomacy: The patriotic art of lying for one’s country. Ambrose Bierce
Alliance: In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted into each others’ pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third. Ambrose Bierce
Whatever it is that government does, sensible Americans would prefer that the government do it to somebody else. This is the idea behind foreign policy. P.J. O’Rourke, Parliament of Whores
A nation with a goofy foreign policy needs a very serious policy of defense. P.J. O’Rourke
Diplomacy is verbal massage Author Unknown
To act with doubleness towards a man whose own conduct was double, was so near an approach to virtue that it deserved to be called by no meaner name than diplomacy. George Eliot
Consul. In American politics, a person who having failed to secure an office from the people is given one by the Administration on condition that he leave the country. Ambrose Bierce
An ambassador is not simply an agent; he is also a spectacle. Walter Bagehot
Two words that are anathema to diplomats are ‘true’ and ‘know’. Diplomats are not interested in what is true but in what is convenient. They want as few people as possible to know as little as possible about almost nothing. Author Unknown

Actually, my favourite is not a quotation at all. I found it in an ironmongery shop in Istanbul (forget the Bosphorus, the Grand Mosque, the Topkapi Palace, when you’re in Istanbul be sure to visit the ironmongers- for one thing they are less likely to be the target of extremist attacks). I found a retractable ruler which was called simply ‘the Diplomat’. Curious to see why it had been given that label, I read further and discovered that “when pressed, retracts immediately.” Well, I thought it was funny, anyway.


One Response to “quotes about diplomacy”

  1. bobepievy Says:

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